health care

California Update for Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Jul 3, 2018

• As Republicans attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Democrats in Congress are looking for ways to protect Californians who’ve come to rely heavily on the landmark health bill.

• CAL FIRE worries about hot temperatures and fireworks as the number of acres burned this year doubles in just the last three days.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola and Bob Moffitt.

California Update for Friday, June 8, 2018

Jun 8, 2018

• A California budget proposal would cut a program which provides discounts to hospitals that serve low income patients.

Today's reporting by Adhiti Bundlamudi.

California Update for Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Apr 18, 2018

• A bill that would expand health care coverage to undocumented adults has moved forward in the California state Assembly.

• When you eat eggs from your friend's backyard coop, those yolks are connected to the soil hens scratch around in. After last year's fires, UC Davis researchers are testing backyard eggs statewide to see if contaminants ended up in those eggs.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Julia Mitric.

California Update for Monday, January 15, 2018

Jan 15, 2018
Leroy Hamilton / The Empowerment Congress

• The first major debate in California's upcoming gubernatorial race took place over the weekend in Los Angeles. The town hall featured four Democrats, two Republicans, and more than a thousand people in the audience.

• Congress must vote on government spending by Jan. 19. They'll also decide the fate of about 1,300 community clinics in California that function largely on federal grants.

Today's reporting by Mary Plummer (KPCC), and Sammy Caiola.

While much attention has been focused recently on federal health care policy, California lawmakers have advanced a bill to create a new “single payer” system here, one that would take insurance companies out of the picture altogether. Advocates for the bill made the case for it at a Town Hall  meeting in Healdsburg last night.

Health Partnerships Aid First-Time Mothers

Apr 7, 2017

The months from pregnancy through infancy are critical for both mothers and newborns, and can shape the course of the child’s life into adulthood. It can be a critical time for a little constructive guidance, which is provided by a low-profile, but impactful county program.

Newborns don’t arrive with an instruction manual, so first-time parents are usually learning as they go. Supervising Health Nurse Lisa Fredrickson says that’s why the Nurse-Family Partnerships extend through the first 24 months of the child’s life.

Bad News, Good Energy at Health Care Town Hall

Mar 13, 2017

A fired up crowd eager to defend the Affordable Care Act filled the Marin Civic Center, to hear a panel led by Congressman Jared Huffman detail the problems they foresee in the new, Republican-sponsored alternative.

While much of the testimony focused on the anticipated harms that would befall the North Bay should the Affordable Care Act be replaced with “TrumpCare,” Marin County Director of Health and Human Services Grant Colfax also noted that the Republican alternative would also slash funding for health care at the national level.

Non-profit Serves Homeless Pet Owners

Mar 9, 2017
Homeless With Pets

Pet owners are deeply attached to their dogs, cats, birds and other animals, and that doesn’t change if they become homeless. But their ability to care for their pets may. That’s where an unusual and specially focused non-profit steps in to help.

More than two thirds of the pets kept by homeless people locally are dogs, says Gillian Squirrell, founder of Homeless With Pets. But that other third encompasses considerable variety.

Examining Racism, Discrimination and Health

Nov 10, 2016

Long before this week’s election results came in, organizers of the annual Latino Health Forum in Santa Rosa had selected as this year’s theme, the health impacts of racism and Discrimination. But current events added new notes of alarm and urgency to the event.

Beyond her insights and analysis into the neurobiological “scripts” that contribute to perpetuating racial inequities, Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia says it is important for health care professionals to exercise their influence and authority to “interrupt” these longstanding social patterns, in schools and beyond.

Health Access California

  Sonoma, Napa and Marin are among a majority of California counties that have expanded theie health care coverage to undocumented adults. Suzanne Potter has more.

Costly Hospital Readmissions in Decline

May 16, 2016

  Just a few months after going into effect, the Hospitals and Family Caregiver Act, often known simply as CARE Act, appears to be succeeding in putting a best practice into law. Suzanne Potter has the figures.

Local Health Group Encourages End-of-Life Planning

Apr 12, 2016

  End-of-life decisions are best made early, even though it’s not an easy thing to think about ahead of time. So some local events are coming up to assist with that.

An Advance Care Directive, like a Living Will, is a formal legal document. Even so, explains Jane Eckles, chair of the steering committee for My Care, My Plan, Sonoma County, there are several easy ways to complete one.

Heath Insurance Outreach for California Latinos

Jan 8, 2016

  Despite the gains that have already been made under the Affordable Care Act, California still has the highest number of uninsured residents of any state. A new enrollment effort is focusing on one of the state's most under-represented populations. Suzanne Potter reports.

  Better pay for in home health workers is necessary to uphold the rights of their infirm and disabled clients. That’s one of several supportive findings in a new pro-labor report.

Click here to read the full North Bay Worker's Rights Board "Report on Wages, Benefits and Working Conditions of Home Care Providers for the County of Sonoma."

Home Healthcare Workers Seek Support

Oct 23, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

The “Fight for 15” is a national campaign to boost the income of low-wage workers. Locally, it’s being spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union, including hundreds of home health care workers, who, according to a visiting academic, have a long history of being undervalued. 


In this first of a two part series, KRCB examines what’s behind the long-term rise in cesarean sections and what can be done to reduce them.

In 2011 Marin General Hospital decided to overhaul their staffing practices. Privately insured pregnant mothers would now receive the same staffing care as publicly insured mothers: Around-the-clock nurse midwives and "laborists" -- obstetricians focused solely on delivering babies rather than maintaining a clinical practice. 

Congress Eyes Mental Health Measures

Sep 30, 2015

  The Mental Health Reform Act of 2015 is one of three similar bills awaiting action in Washington, D.C that have the potential to support and expand mental health services here in the North Bay.

Farmworker Health Survey Details Disparities

Sep 7, 2015

  A detailed survey of farmworkers in Sonoma County confirms that they are often very poor, with compromised health. Despite that, most of them claim this as their full-time home.

You can read the Executive summary of the full report here.

Reborn Palm Drive Hospital Awaits Re-opening

Aug 12, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

How much longer until the former Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol reopens? It could be before the end of the month, but even now, that’s not yet a certainty.

There are still lingering issues to be resolved around the old Palm Drive Hospital's bankruptcy. But Ray Hino, the new CEO for the Sonoma West Medical Center, says those issues will not get in the way of the hospital's reopening and renewed operations.

Assembly Tries Again on Drug Cost Containment

Jun 9, 2015
Emily Roesly/Morguefile

  Some California legislators are making a second attempt to rein in prescription drug costs for some common diseases. Suzanne Potter reports.

Sebastopol Hospital’s Reopening Delayed

May 6, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

More than a year after it closed, the former Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol is pushing hard to reopen. But no one is certain yet just when that will happen.

Marin’s Breast Cancer Cluster Disputed

Feb 14, 2015

Despite years of reporting about the high incidence of breast cancer in Marin County, the reasons for it have never been conclusively identified.  But unpacking the data behind the reports suggests why the causes have been elusive.

 Not only do multiple mammograms detect more anomalies, says investigative journalist Peter Byrne, but it has turned out that one type that is commonly found doesn’t actually require treatment.


New Palm Drive Operating Plan Endorsed

Jan 26, 2015

Sebastopol’s Palm Drive Hospital could reopen in early April with a new name and management team, under a plan endorsed by the Palm Drive Health Care District’s Board of Directors Monday.

What's lacking in farm workers' health care

Dec 3, 2014

  To better meet the health needs of migrant farm workers, health care professionals will need to expand their training to include background in the social issues and conditions that affect those patients.

Health care services for migrant farm workers in California, says Seth Holmes, are sparse, overburdened and underfunded. All of which is a natural outcome from the way our for-profit medical system is structured.

Reopening Palm Drive Hospital

Nov 25, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Dr. Richard Powers has practiced family medicine at Sebastopol’s Palm Drive hospital for decades. Now he’s going to help run the closed and bankrupt facility, which he is intent on seeing reopened next spring.

In addition to seeing Palm Drive Hospital reopened early next year, new board member Dr. Richard Powers is also hopeful that the facility’s bankruptcy creditors will also be getting paid soon.



  Hispanic children are 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured than other children, and a new report says California is doing better than most states in terms of outreach to their families. Chris Thomas reports.

Why Palliative Care is Growing

May 5, 2014

  Hospice care, for people with terminal illnesses, is well established now. Palliative care is not as well known, but can actually do more.

In many ways, says Dr. Gary Johanson, Director of Memorial Hospice and Palliative Care Service for St. Joseph's Annadel Medical Group, the modern practice of palliative care is a return to the care-giving philosophy that prevailed before the era of modern medicine.

To display the relative roles of varying forms of medical care, Dr. Johanson has prepared the Venn diagram below.

Finding a Future for Palm Drive Hospital

Apr 9, 2014

  With the clock ticking toward the April 28th closure date for Sebastopol’s Palm Drive Hospital, board members are scrambling to solicit and assess new operating models, while staff members worry what their futures will hold.

The closure of Palm Drive Hospital may have come as a shock to the community at large, but physician Greg Rosa, who has worked there for years, says it was apparent on the inside that the current business model was failing.

Health Care Enrollment Gathers Steam

Feb 2, 2014

  The number of Sonoma County residents signing up for health care coverage is accelerating, with field workers reporting that many applicants have not had insurance before and most are pleasantly surprised at the prices they will pay.

Another factor that is boosting health insurance enrollment rates, suggests the West County Health Clinics’ Cady Smith, are the penalties that will kick in for those who don’t opt in.

Full-time Work and the Affordable Care Act

Jan 20, 2014

  The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health care for employees working 30 hours per week or more. But some members of Congress want to raise that threshold to 40 hours per week, a change that could have profound consequences.

Read Ken Jacobs' policy brief on this issue here.